Hey guys! I finished another book last week. I read The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. I really got into this book and by the end I was gutted to reach the final page. It is the first Nicholas Sparks book I have read. Some may think his books to be nothing more than clichéd romances, but I think his writing is very engaging and I fell in love with the characters. His words are beautiful and he depicts gorgeous love stories.
Ira. Ruth. Luke. Sophia.
I think I found this book so engaging because Sparks focuses so intensely on four main characters, which are separated into two love stories. I have always thought that getting to know characters is one of the best things about reading. I also really enjoyed the way I could picture the actors from the film in my mind. I haven’t actually seen it, but I have seen trailers and posters etc. I think the four leads appear to have done a good job (more on the film later).
Since I think this book is all about the characters and the words, I have decided to select a prominent quote from each character to discuss. My other favourite thing about this book is the setting. Ira and Ruth’s world of 1940s WWII, Sophie’s world of a typical American sorority house and Luke’s world of a struggling ranch in the 21st century. I loved finding out what happens when these worlds were brought together.
“With only a semester to go, she no longer wondered what the point of college had been. The ups and downs, the dreams and struggles, had all been part of the journey, she realized – a journey that led to a cattle ranch near a town called King, where she had fallen in love with a cowboy named Luke” – Sophia’s chapter, p. 270
Okay, so that was kind of a long quote, but I just love it. It reminds us that Sophia is just a normal college girl, going through the same things everyone goes through at that age. She is confident and determined. She isn’t the kind of girl who will let her guard down straight away, especially after being hurt by her previous boyfriend.
But as time passes, she realises something special in Luke, something she has never found before. They fall in love in a more real way than any of her past relationships and she knows she can never leave him.
“I’d like to marry you, if you think that would be okay” – Luke, p.447
Luke is such a wonderful character. He is loving, caring and passionate. But, he is also still human. He is driven by an obsession, a single thought that the only way to help his mum is to risk his life in the bull ring. I can sympathise a lot with Luke because I can completely see his reasoning and why he is so reluctant to listen to people when they tell him to stop. He really thinks it is the right thing to do. As a reader I found myself wanted to scream, telling him to stop before the worst happens! It is a fear that really draws you in and you become so worried that he isn’t ever going to stop.
I love the way he feels about Sophia. There love story is one of the best I’ve ever read and I was so happy when he finally realises what is truly important in his life.
“After all, if there is a heaven, we will find each other again, for there is no heaven without you” – Ira’s letter, p. 409
I love the two time periods that are the setting for each of the love stories in this book. I have love stories set in the WWII (I mean, you only need to check out my review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak). Ira and Ruth’s story is not focuses on the violence or cruelty of war, but rather the emotional separation of loved ones and the conflicted nature of society during that time. I also love how we gain an insight into the views of love and marriage in the 1940s. Ira loves Ruth wholeheartedly. Their love story is endearing and traditional, but it is still filled with as much passion as Luke and Sophia’s relationship.
“I am smiling as I write this, and I hope you can find it in yourself to smile as you read this. Do not drown yourself in grief. Instead, remember me with joy, for this is how I always thought of you” – Ruth’s letter, p. 371
I love this quote because I really think it captured the essence of who Ruth is as a character. She brings so much joy into Ira’s life. I think we get the sense that if Luke and Sophia had known Ruth and Ira when they were in their young days, they would have been great friends. They are the same in many ways, just in two different times, and still with their own wonderful uniqueness.
She is also a passionate woman like Sophia. Her love for Ira, as well as her love for teaching, are so important in her life. The additional storyline about her student, Daniel, was so emotional and really helped us to further understand Ruth as a character. It is sad because we get to know these characters and we can see what amazing parents they would be, something they never get a chance to experience.
This book is a celebration of love, life and of human desire, passion and experience. It is an uplifting story and I really enjoyed reading it. I have a copy of The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks which I haven’t read so I would really like to read that one soon as well. Hope you enjoyed this review, please leave any comments below.
Lots of love,